Maps on your PDA: Simple Stuff #7 - Simple Access to Demographics on the Web

By Hal Reid

One of the things we wanted to do with our PDAs was easy demographic retrieval from any given location, in real time.So far, I haven't found a system that quite does that with the exception to the geoVue Palm VII application.Now, that isn't to say there aren't some rumors floating around and that you might see something here in the not too distant future.But right now, that is all that I have seen for the PDA.Although, there are several sources of simple to access demographics on the web.

This past week, I got a call from Robert Reading (Tactician Corp - they read Simple Stuff too) and he mentioned that they have an easy access to a demographics application on the web.Not just on the web, but running on Lycos.

Click here for the URL link.

When you get there, click on the Demographics Maps and Reports line in the Research Tools box on the left side of the page:

From there, enter an address.You will soon see a map with the location identified by a large, red map pin.Like most of these apps, you can move the map just in case it didn't address match exactly.You then have the opportunity to select a large number of FREE (one of my favorite words) and Pay Per Use Reports and Maps.They will even give it all to you as a PDF file.

If you are a sometime user of Demographics and Maps, this is a good alternative to a investing in a dedicated system.

Since it was on the web and I have a modem in my HP Jornada 720, I had to give it a try.After all, we have been using PDAs here at Simple Stuff.

Note that the Tactician/Lycos application worked flawlessly with my PC.

Via my dial-up connection, typically about 48kb, I got there, but it wasn't there yet.It was not the applications fault, it was that my screen was too small and I am spoiled by using a cable modem.The thing that I was very aware of, was that it wouldn't take very much to be there.

Here is what I could do on the Jornada with out much of an effort.
I could address match my office location
I could see a map and reposition the map pin - I did have to scroll around a lot
I could ask for a map and report and get it back.Of course, it was bigger than the screen on the Jornada

The issues were speed - because of all the graphics and it was dial-up.The application assumed you to have a monitor, not a PDA screen.

If there had been a dedicated PDA page, a lot of the issues I encounter would go away.If I had been able to retrieve just the 6 or so demographic variables and no graphics.It would have worked fine.

So, while we may not be there yet, but we may be a lot closer than we think.

Published Wednesday, April 17th, 2002

Written by Hal Reid

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